For the Glory of God to refresh our spirits
Angela Hewitt’s most moving recital at the Wigmore Hall.
Visibly moved as we all were as she allowed her own transcription of “All men must die ” BWV 643 to fill this hallowed hall with the hope and joy that she has been sharing with us for the past 35 years.
In the month when Angela Hewitt would have performed the final concert of the multi-season Bach Odyssey, she presented a special live broadcast programme including her own arrangement of a 1714 chorale.
PROGRAMME Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) Toccata in C minor BWV911; Sinfonia No. 5 in E flat BWV791; English Suite No. 6 in D minor BWV811 I. Prelude; Capriccio in B flat major (Capriccio on the Departure of his Most Beloved Brother) BWV992 III. Adagiosissimo: Ist ein allgemeines Lamento der Freunde; Fantasia and Fugue in C minor BWV906 I. Fantasia; French Suite No. 5 in G BWV816 III. Sarabande; Chromatic Fantasia and Fugue in D minor BWV903 ;Alle Menschen müssen sterben BWV643 (arr. Angela Hewitt)
There are times when words are just not enough and music takes over as the complete silence and stillness at the end of Angela Hewitt’s recital demonstrated today.
Capturing in the few final lines a contemplative faith,joy and musical perfection.
As Schumann exclaimed to Mendelssohn when he listened to a Bach chorale …….’a melody laced with garlands of gold evoking the thought that if life were deprived of all trust and faith this chorale would restore it to me’
A recital in place of the final Art of Fugue that would have brought her 12 recital Bach Odyssey to an end and the highest award that the hall could humbly offer to an artist.
As John Gilhooley in his citation declared: ‘Angela in 35 years of performances at the Wigmore Hall has shown a timeless curiosity,technical flair and an overriding sense of artistic integrity.’
A recital that demonstrated the art of Angela Hewitt from the opening grandiose introduction of the C minor Toccata to the magic stillness of the Adagio.The supreme delicacy of the Toccata theme in the left hand answered so eloquently by the right and its return where the mischievous counterpoints were played with a delicacy that allowed this knotty twine to glisten like jewels in the sun.
The sinfonia was a miracle of purity of line with a staccato accompaniment that demonstrated her mastery and technical prowess.
The grandiose opening of the D minor English suite with the multicoloured strands that she went on to extract with such obvious delight and joy.The expressive yearning one could almost hear in the way she played the right hand downward phrases in the Capriccio for a dearly departed brother.
The Fantasia in C minor was just the shimmering almost Scarlatti precision that was needed before the sublime beauty of the Sarabande from the 5th French suite.
The grandiose flourishes of the Chromatic Fantasy soon died away as she drew us in to her world of Bach where every strand made such sense and was imbued with such character.
The final Chorale created even over the air that magical moment when you can almost feel the listeners sharing an experience together that can only happen in that moment.
It was Mitsuko Uchida who told me once after a concert in Perugia that it is the memory of such an occasion that is to be cherished – no photo or recording will ever capture that magic moment again.